After riding "foolishly" in the first stage as he describes it, Francaise de Jeux's Bernhard Eisel made things right in yesterday's second stage of the Driedaagse van De Panne, winning the bunch sprint to take his third victory of the season.
However, Eisel said the stage didn't start out particularly well for him: "I had a mechanical problem, right on the first climb, and a team-mate gave me his bike," he wrote on eisel.com. "On the descent there was a terrible mass crash, involving a lot of the favourites. I had to get off my bike, go around the crash through the pasture, and got into the third group."
From there, the Austrian worked his way up until 80km before the finish, when he tried to escape. "But the group couldn't get away," he said. "Then I knew directly that it would be a mass sprint. Which it turned out to be."
Continued Eisel: "It worked out perfectly for my team in the finale; my colleagues brought me perfectly into position and Lampre opened the sprint too soon. When Baden Cooke tore past me 200 metres before the finish line, I just hung on to his rear wheel and passed him 50 meters before the finish. Unlike yesterday, everything went perfectly today!"
Well, not quite everything. "It had rained all day, and I didn't want to go the winner's ceremony in my wet shoes," he said. "But my masseur hadn't brought my sneakers, so I had to borrow some from Discovery Channel, otherwise I would have had to stand on the podium in my bare feet."
Courtesy Susan Westemeyer